School of Science & Engineering

Biology

The biology department is dedicated to providing students with a well-rounded background in the field of biology. Students can concentrate their studies in various areas of biology by taking courses such as anatomy, physiology, histology, mammalian physiology, molecular biology, plant science, and environmental ecology. Students interested in botany and entomology can also pursue their own individual course route. Biology majors are encouraged to design individual projects that examine and investigate their particular area of interest.

All biology students take a core of 6 courses that prepare them to take the MCAT and Graduate Record exams. The core courses include the study of zoology, botany, microbiology, cell biology, genetics, evolution, and ecology.

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Program

AU offers two degrees in biology.

Major
  • BA in Biology
  • BS in Biology
  • Both can be completed in a 3-year track

The core curriculum of the biology major offers four areas of specialization:

  • Pre-Health Professional Programs
  • Science Education
  • Molecular/Biochemistry/Microbiology
  • Ecology/Environmental
Minor

A biology minor (16-hour) includes Foundations of Modern Biology I & II.

Areas of Specialization

Pre-Professional Specialization

A biology degree prepares students for a pre-professional program when they graduate. Biology plays an important role in programs such as:

  • medical
  • dental
  • optometry
  • physician assistant
  • pharmacy
  • physical therapy
  • occupational therapy
  • veterinary school

Our faculty help students prepare to achieve their goals through a one-on-one advising process. Our alumni have been accepted to a wide range of professional schools and are successful in their chosen professions.

Molecular/Biochemical/Microbiology Specialization

Students gain experience in the laboratory by performing molecular techniques like:

  • DNA and protein gel electrophoresis
  • DNA and protein purification
  • PCR
  • gene cloning

Students also work with fruit fly genetics, bacterial mutagenesis, enzyme assays, and various types of chromatography. We offer opportunities for independent research projects as well as advanced course options.

Environmental Specialization

Students have hands-on experience testing the water quality of the White River, using both a macroinvertebrate assay and a chemical monitoring assay. They also visit unique habitats in Indiana like a sedge meadow fen, the highest quality remaining wetland in the state of Indiana. Students visit the Field Museum and the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago while some students take their biology electives at the Au Sable Institute of Environmental Studies where they practice hands-on skills in the areas of ecology and conservation.

TeachScience

Students complete both the biology major and secondary education teacher certification in four years in the TeachScience program. Students have the same experiences as all biology majors in addition to experiences in the middle school and high school classrooms. Working with the AU School of Education faculty, students will be observing in the classroom during their sophomore and junior years in preparation for student teaching during their senior year. Graduates of the program have found success in both middle school and high school classrooms.

Classes

What courses will I take?

  • The Bachelor of Arts in Biology (48 hours) focuses primarily on biology and chemistry courses. All students are required to take courses in Foundations of Modern Biology, Cell Biology, Microbes and Disease, Genetics, Science Seminar, and 12 additional hours from upper-division biology courses. General Chemistry I & II and Organic Chemistry I are also required. View the courses required for the B.A. in Biology.
  • The Bachelor of Science (72 hours) begins with a 40-hour biology core and includes coursework in chemistry as well as mathematics and physics. It fulfills the entrance requirements for medical school. View the courses required for the B.S. in Biology.
Careers

What kind of jobs can I anticipate after graduation?

  • botanist
  • environmental ecologist
  • geneticist
  • laboratory technician
  • oceanographer
  • soil conservationist
  • zoologist